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Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer

News/Business. (2012) (CC) (Stereo)

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Massachusetts 9, Us 7, Scott Brown 7, Elizabeth Warren 6, Missouri 6, Romney 4, Tim 4, Eliot Spitzer 3, Islam 3, David Brooks 3, Paul Ryan 3, United States 3, Hershey 3, Vo 3, Jennifer Granholm 3, Virginia 2, U.s. 2, New York 2, Todd Zwillich 2, Barney Frank 2,
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  Current    Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer    News/Business.   
   (2012)  (CC) (Stereo)  

    September 18, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00pm PDT  

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moody's chief economist mark zandi. you all have a great night. on "viewpoint." >> eliot: good evening i'm eliot spitzer. this is "viewpoint." when a presidential candidate is forced to leave a scheduled fund-raiser for an impromptu news conference, it can only one mean one thing. trouble. >> good evening. i understand there is a video that's been on the internet for a few weeks that has attracted some attention and i thought i would make some comments about it. >> eliot: that was mitt romney last night after mother jones posted video excerpts of his of its web site of romney taking questions from potential donors at a private $50,000 a plate
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fund-raiser may 17th at the florida home of private equity manager mark leeder. we played part of the tape monday. we're going to play a lot more of it tonight starting with the most controversial excerpt. >> there are 47% of the american people who will vote for him no matter what. they believe they're victims who believe government has a responsibility to care for them. who believe they're entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing to you name it. it is entitlement. the government should give it to them. they'll vote for this president no matter what. the president starts off with 48%, 49% he starts off with a huge number. these are people who pay no income tax. so our message of low taxes doesn't connect. up there talking about tax cuts for the rich. that's what they sell every four years. and so my -- not to worry about
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that. they should take responsibility. the 5% to 10% in the center that are independents, that are voting one way or another depending on in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not. >> eliot: romney had thoughts on how he could bring the thoughtful independent voters who pay income taxes over to his side. >> romney: we speak with voters across the country about their perceptions, the people i told you, the 5% to 6% to 7% that we have to bring on our side, they all voted for barack obama four years ago. because they voted for him they don't want to be told they were wrong. that he's a bad guy. that he does bad things and he's corrupt. those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing. that he wasn't up to the task. so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them and the best success i have is speaking with those people is saying you know, the president has been a disappointment.
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he told us he would keep unemployment below 8%. it hasn't been below 8% yet. 50% of students out of school -- 50% of the kid in high school in the 50 largest cities won't graduate from high school. what are they going to do. these are the kinds of things that i can say to that audience that they nod their head and say yeah right. >> eliot: a lot of republicans are saying romney is not right. "new york times" conservative columnist david brooks compared romney in his headline to thurston howell iii the clueless millionaire in the '60s tv comedy gilligan's island before writing and i quote... national review editor rich lowery compared romney's remarks to and i quote someone who overheard some conservative
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cocktail chatter and maybe read a conservative blog or two and is thoughtlessly repeating back what he heard and read. romney also shared his thoughts on the israeli palestinian counsel to the fund-raiser. mother jones released that video today. here's part of what romney said. we have a potentially volatile situation. we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen.
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>> eliot: romney took to fox news this afternoon to explain his comments on taxes and the so-called 47%. romney didn't try to apologize for his remarks which he said contrasted his commitment to free enter vise to what he called the president's preference for expanding government but he did manage, get this to get in a good word for taxes. >> romney: i do believe that we should have enough jobs and enough take-home pay such that people have the privilege of higher incomes that allow them to be paying taxes. i think people would like to be paying taxes. the good news is if you're doing well enough financially that you can pay a tax. >> eliot: for more on romney's candid camera meltdown, i'm joined by tim dickinson. darrell lewis. let me begin with you,er ol. this seems to me this statement this sort of ex-pabsive articulation of his core philosophy about the other 47% is so revealing and false.
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how does it strike you factually and politically? >> factually it doesn't make any sense. a million different ways you can spice and dice that. 20 million people, it is bound to be wrong especially about whether they care about their lives and other things an outsider can't know. i think you'll appreciate this as a former politician is that even if 47% of the country is misguided, too dependent on government not taking responsibility for their lives a politician, a leader at that. >> eliot: is supposed to be able or want to go out and convert them. evangelize them, not just throw up your hands at a fund-raiser and say i'm not going to get these people. i cannot fathom how a national leader would take that approach. >> eliot: tim, there is a dismissive quality about mitt romney's characterization. he diminishes, he demeans he speaks down and as we heard in the excerpts from both richard lowry of the national review and david brooks of "the new york
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times," he seems to talk of the 47% as though he has utter disdain for them. a politician shouldn't do that either out of self-interest or out of a sense of understanding of his role to bring them into one community one family. that is one of the things that is deeply troubling about his comments. >> and the question is like who are these people? i looked it up. if you work at staples, where romney claims he made all of the wonderful jobs, you're making $37,000 a year. if you have kids, that's going to put you as a single income family in the 47%. so you're a victim if you worked at staples. it is mind-boggling. it is terribly offensive to people who work their buts off and don't manage to make enough income to pay anything more than their social security and their medicare tax. >> eliot: look he conflights and takes advantage of a fact that i think most people will miss. when he says 47% of the public doesn't pay income taxes he's technically correct. erol, we know he's playing a game. they pay sales taxes property
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taxes, excise taxes they pay their fair share. they're below the income level that requires them. >> exactly right. add a few fees or things like your utility bills people are paying a whole lot. they're paying everything they've got in many cases. so when he says that they're dependent on government, here again, he's making a pretty big leap and it is just offensive to people. look, i haven't been dependent on government in the way i used to be but i started out in public housing in harlem. i was a head start kid. i had -- my family had supports from government. and it enabled me to get to a point where the i.r.s. will confirm this, i have paid back the government many, many, many times over what was invested in me some decades ago. this is not a static, sort of population. this is not your destiny. this is not necessarily your political identity. and for him to have concluded that or to sound as if he concluded that, he's just off. it is wrong. >> eliot: other rolle --erol, that is so well said. it is so resident in terms of
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the notion of the american success story, you begin with a little bit work hard, get a helping hand. nobody's dependent -- you get a helping hand. the stories we heard at the republican convention of immigrants who came here, benefited from a schooling and from programs that mitt romney's deriding when he talks about dependency. that's why the story doesn't make sense to me. >> it also doesn't make sense because there are a lot of social conservatives throughout who believe government has this kind of role. there is the compassionate role of the government can play. george bush was ecstatic about being able to take five million people off of the tax rolls. this was a great accomplishment of the bush era. and now romney is calling these people victims. it makes no sense at all. >> eliot: well, look, i think it speaks to the libertarian ayn randan world view that romney wants to project. whether he believes it, i've given up what is deep inside that brain because the etch-a-sketch metaphor captures it. i honestly don't know if there is a core belief that will not
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change for political advantage and in front of this audience, he felt the playing this card was beneficial so he did it. i think once again, we're seeing how vapid mitt romney is. let me ask the political question, will it matter? in other words, are we so polarized that people who were with mitt romney will hear this and go rah finally someone who standing up to them? >> there is a percentage that will. i don't think it is as big as he hopes. i think the independents, the crucial little slice he was talking about there they are very turned off by that. they're very turned off by the notion of sort of a hard partisan politics of writing off entire segments of the population. and then you look at somebody like the archetypal single mom working six shifts a week at walmart or something like that. there's no way. i can't quite imagine somebody like that sort of saying okay, he's the guy for me. i don't see it. >> eliot: errol logic compels me to your conclusion. this morning, i did a radio show. tim, somebody who called in who said i'm earning $40,000 and was right at the margin in terms of
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the world that mitt romney was describing, he was squarely in mitt romney's world saying i don't want anybody to get in the way of my success. i don't want to support them without any sort of cognitive dissidence resonating in his voice. is there a universe there as errol says, we don't know how big it is that will latch on to what romney is saying? >> romney is latching to a feeling that a lot of middle class people have. that they're falling behind because somebody else out there -- there is a moocher class taking advantage of them. it is a perfect scapegoat right? you have this financial class that's led us into this enormous decline. who's to blame? it is the greedy people, a lot of them are of color who are just -- sitting there sponging on the government. this is what he's speaking to. it is a feeling that people have that they're falling behind because somebody else isn't pulling their weight. i don't know that the statistics that we can bring back and say hey, it's actually not true, i'm not sure that matters if you're speaking to that feeling which is really powerful in a lot of
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the white lower middle class. >> eliot: this is the ugly -- negative of politics. we're living in a world where instead of expanding budgets the moment where we can expand opportunity for many and feel good about it, we're trying to guard and hold close what is ours and that defensiveness breathes the mentality mitt romney talks about here. is anybody bothered by the fact -- i've got to believe he's a numbers guy. he knows that 47% is, if not technically accurate, it is fundamentally misleading because he ignores the larger data points about taxes. does that bother you? >> he's too smart not to know this. it is the collective mind of the romney campaign is what we ought to focus on. he is an individual, like you said, it has been a losing game for five years to figure out what he really believes and what he doesn't or what he would change and why. but the collective group i mean the people who sent it out at 10:00 last night, the new york times to do this impromptu news conference, double down on his mistake and walk away. what they're thinking and who
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they're trying to get and what states they think this is going to help them in, we'll find out obviously in 50 days but my goodness, i can't imagine what they're doing. >> eliot: it is not a strategy i would have crafted for him even if he of i wanted him to win. tim, i'm aware of two republican senate candidates who have walked away from him over this. mcmahon in connecticut and scott brown in massachusetts. those are swing states in the senatorial race. >> eliot:. not presidential level. and so what do we disearn if anything from the fact his senatorial candidates in those states at least are saying hey guys, he does not talk for me on this issue? >> i don't think deriding half the country as parasites is a winning political message in any election. romney has to double down on it because if he backs away from it he looks weak. classic p.r. says you gotta come out swinging but i don't think there's anybody that wants to go down on the ship with mitt romney. >> eliot: the only thing he said in the long expanse and his quick statement yesterday or today was he said nice words about paying taxes.
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people want to pay taxes. i felt like screaming out how about you. maybe you can do more than 13%. not quite that much. anyway, all right. tim, national correspondent for "rolling stone," errol louis thanks for your time tonight. >> good to be with you. >> thanks. >> eliot: mitt romney isn't the only it tough foust are in republicans.
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hershey's drops. a lot of hershey's happiness in little drops of milk chocolate. and cookies n creme. pure hershey's. >> eliot: among the now famous 47% who don't pay federal income taxes, you'll find our number of the day. 7,000. that's how many of those individuals who paid no federal tax last year or millionaires. i wonder if those were the lazy miscreants mitt romney was talking about when he said nearly half the population is defined by a culture of dependency and simply wants the government to take care of them. that goes to the heart of what's so wrong with governor romney's comments. he made vast generalizations
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about people bloom he has little real world knowledge. it is difficult even to put all 7,000 of those tax-free millionaires in one category. some may indeed have been using unfair loopholes but others may have escaped taxes because they lost too much in investments or had enormous family medical expenses. maybe they even had to sell one of their show horses at a loss. i'm sure governor romney could sympathize with that. so before the candidate speaks disparagingly about the tens of millions of americans mitt romney should make sure he's not talking about his now to my point. (vo) jennifer granholm ... >>for every discouraged voter, there are ten angry ones taking action. trickle down does not work. in romney's world, cars get the elevator and the workers get the shaft. that is a whole bunch of bunk. the powerful may steal an election, but they can't steal democracy.
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>> eliot: after what could be mitt romney's worst week ever, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where we see a new president in the oval office come next year. the house and senate on the other hand remain a developing story. the battle for control of the house might still be in control of democrats. it really depends on who you ask. senator dick durbin told an illinois paper and i quote "i think it's likely we'll see an outcome similar to what we have today. democratic majority in the senate but not 60 votes and a republican majority in the house but less than it is today." meanwhile, nancy pelosi isn't so resigned to that outcome. >> we have the message. we have the messengers. we have the money and the mobilization. we have a very excellent chance to take back the house. >> eliot: as for the senate in
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what's become the most interesting and expensive statewide race in the country elizabeth warren now has a small lead over sitting senator scott brown. suffolk university whdh poll has warren 4 points ahead of brown. the opposite of where she was found a few months ago. over in missouri, todd akin has until september 25 to exit the race. but despite the most recent poll putting him 6 points behind mccaskill, he thinks he can win the race. the akin campaign released this ad yesterday. >> a coalition of women whose goal is to reach others with the truth that todd is a humble, intelligent and compassionate leader. he's not just a good choice for missouri. he's the best choice for missouri senate. >> eliot: the video and corresponding web site have since been taken down after it was revealed one of the women pictured on the site was a democratic operative only there to keep tabs on akin. joining me now the d.c.
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correspondent for wnyc's the take away, todd zwillich. mayhem at every level other than the presidential race where i for one think it is a forgone conclusion. let's talk the house. 25 the magic number. how do you assess the odds that the democratic party can take back control of the house? >> good to be with you governor. i think the smart money has to go with dick durbin. nancy pelosi knows her business. she's one of the best politicians in town. she's also a champion fund-raiser and she didn't get to be that way by tamping down expectations. she wants her troops to think they have a real shot. i think realistically, even if things at the top of the ticket aren't going great for republicans right now the chances of taking back the house are pretty remote for democrats. the republican majority is just too big nobody who watches house races is expecting a wave election. not anything like you saw in 2010 with the tea party insurgency for republicans.
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now, maybe however a few more pickups than democrats may have expected, even two months ago i think one x factor here that is worth watching, one is that things are not going well at the top of the ticket so romney doing worse might do much better for democrats running against republicans, defending marginal districts, especially some tea party republicans who sort of got elected in marginal districts, think people like alan west. i'm not saying he's going to lose but he's one example. but paul ryan is now on the ticket. nobody expected that two months ago. he's the namesake of the ryan budget. every single republican voted for it. i'm sure they supported it but when they did that i'm not sure they expected to be running on it by name at the top of the ticket. it will be interesting to see how that name on a ticket, parts of that ryan budget are fundamentally unpopular how independents respond when the republicans are running with ryan at the top of the ticket. >> eliot: there are a couple of factors here. the congress is an institution unpopular. the individual members of
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congress do not carry the burden. come november in the individual race but you're so right. in 2010, when the issue of medicare and paul ryan's first iteration of medicare reform was on the ballot, it didn't do well. excuse me, substantive to the elections, didn't do well for republican candidates. now they have that hanging around their necks. that's the x fact object. when you look at the races ween the knee more mouse unpopular of congress as an institution not enough seats in play. let's switch over to where there is massive uncertainty the senate. massachusetts in particular, the notion that elizabeth warren couldn't win massachusetts by a big margin is kind of surprising to me. why is that race so close? >> scott brown the incumbent republican has really worked hard in a republican environment where moderates are shunned and often you know, removed. unsayreceremoniously from the party. scott brown has worked hard to maintain his -- he's smart. it is a blue state. a lot of the smart money would
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have said he never should have won in the first place. the fundamentals in massachusetts have to favor elizabeth warren as a democrat with good name recognition. that race is fascinating. the most interesting thing about it if you're watching from washington, from this perspective is that's one that republicans really don't want to lose because republicans are really all about republican pickups. in massachusetts, they're defending scott brown's seat but republicans, if they have any hope of taking control of the senate they need four pickups and if they lose one in massachusetts, that number automatically becomes five and that number is getting more and more difficult to see how they reach it. it is a real tossup right now. i'm not, in any way saying republicans don't have a good chance to take over the senate. they do. but it's much, much, murkier than it was even six weeks ago. the senate is a real tossup. some of the republican pickups are fascinating. >> eliot: when i talk to friends of mine who live in massachusetts, everyone speaks with amazement how popular their friends, buddies everybody says yeah we like scott brown.
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we're going to vote for him. he drives around in a pickup truck. all of that superficial stuff that seems to be working. the other factor here, one that helps elizabeth warren and one that explains why the republicans want to beat her she will have president obama at the top of the ticket. when scott brown won he did not have the benefit when he was up against martha coakley viewed as a bad candidate. so i think with the president at the top that has got to have some residual coattails effect for elizabeth warren. if she wins, does she not become immediately a national figure? >> well she does, definitely. to the extent mitt romney is not the opportune republican candidate in this economic environment when people are mad at rich guys and the bain capital experience, fair or unfair, that's how the race is going, elizabeth warren might be the opposite for democrats. she is the face and the poster child for the class and equality argument. she's the progenitor of the thing that got president obama in the first place the you didn't build that, misstatement
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or gaffe. she came up with that reasoning and cut web videos that were enormously popular. she's articulated better than he did. she's become the poster child for that. they gave her a prime slot at the convention. massachusetts is a big one. virginia is huge. it is a dead heat between tim kaine and george allen. two former governors with saturated name recognition and absolute dead heat. does president obama even though he is surging in virginia, have any coattails in that state? it doesn't seem like it. it is tough for kaine. what a race. >> eliot: let me ask you real quick. missouri, todd akin. we thought he was road kill a few weeks ago. is he within shooting distance in can you pull this out or drop out of the race within a week which would be something the republican party would love because then they could put in -- ashcroft or somebody i've heard a whole bunch of names. maybe somebody that could hold on to the seat for them. >> if todd akin stays in and loses this one it will have republicans just pulling their hair out because this was the
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one claire mccaskill was the most vulnerable democrat in the senate. she was the one they were going to knock off easily. the gaffe happened. todd akin staying in the race. the fundamentals in missouri don't favor her. missouri is not a purple state anymore. it is pink. it is red. so she still has an uphill climb. that was the best gift that ever happened to her. she wanted him as an opponent, remember. she funded a did s to make sure akin was her opponent. she got what she wanted. we'll see if she can make it work. >> eliot: she will have threaded five needles on her way back. amazing performance on her part. d.c. correspondent for the take away, todd zwillich, thank you so much for your time tonight. >> always a pleasure. >> eliot: the president has a spspspspspspspspspspspspspspspspspspspspspspspspsp (vo) this is joy. >>who the heck does mitt romney think he is? (vo) this is joy on current tv. >>if mitt romney treats his magic underwear the same way as his tax returns, then he's been going commando for the past 10 years.
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>> eliot: still to come, you know who might have something to say about the romney video. congressman barney frank. fortunately, he's up next. but first a greeting from president obama. stewart and colbert return from vacation and an even more embarrassing video is discovered. when it doesn't fit anywhere else we put it in the viewfinder. >> i want to extend my warmest wishes to all of those celebrating the new year. this is a joyful time for millions of people around the world. but rosh hashanah and yom kippur are opportunities for -- they represent a chance to take stock of our lives. look forward to the coming year with clear eyes and renewed purpose. michelle and i wish you and your family -- >> our constitution means we can't stop people from making movies that are stupid or grossly offensive. for instance we made three transformers.
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♪ >> i don't understand this one. an online film that nobody has seen made by some ass [ bleep ] almost as if certain leaders in that part of the world are deliberately exploiting whatever they can get their hands on to rile up the populous for their own political gain. hey, wait a minute. you really are getting the hang of this democracy thing pretty fast. >> half the population. >> yes. >> governor romney is correct in that tape. half the population is living off the other half. >> see, i would love for that to be a message for any candidate on the stump. >> grandson hadn't snuck this stuff out you wouldn't be having this conversation today. >> one last thought you guys. when i was a boy when i was a boy, i used to think that becoming rich and becoming famous would make me happy. boy, was i right. thank you. >> eliot: poor mitt, he's
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finding out it ain't so. mitt romney disparages 47% of the american pubububububububububububububububububububububububububub if you have an opinion, you better back it up. >>eliot spitzer takes on politics. >>science and republicans do not mix. >>now it's your turn at the only online forum with a direct line to eliot spitzer. >>join the debate now. what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025, we could have 20 million jobs
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>> eliot: mitt romney's statement painting 47% of the public as freeloaders has rightfully drawn outrage. one such voice is that of our good friend, congressman barney frank. he joins me now. congressman, always a pleasure to have you on the show. you let loose with a powerful and pointed statement today. right at mitt romney. tell us what you really think about this. >> well, first of all, it is probably the case that people he is denigrating in such a dismissive fashion pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than he does. we don't know that because he's
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refusing to reveal it but you know, i'm still struck by ann romney having said that oh, if we were to release mitt's returns or our returns, it would give the other side ammunition. that's about as damming an admission as you can get. there are people who work, every penny of their income is subject to the payroll tax. and that may very well be a higher effective rate than romney pays with his shelters. and the other point that strikes me is this. it is a very hard conception -- not a hard one. a scary one. apparently to him, people don't have views on public policy. they don't have emotional feelings. they don't have concern for others. in his mind, it is pure economic determinism. people are apparently reduced to being sleighs of where their money comes from. that's a very striking fact. there are people on the other side -- i have a number of constituents who frankly make a good deal of money and have
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voted to raise their taxes. some in the 53% fortunately are not the kind of simple economic or -- that romney says. when he says i'm not going to worry about it. it is not my job to worry about these people. i've thought it is my job to worry about everybody and not to write anybody off and not to assume that people are simply the creatures of their incomes. >> eliot: congressman you say so many things in there it i want to follow up on. the first is the simple factual assertion that mitt romney made that's wrong. he's correct as you and i know, 47% of the public doesn't pay income taxes but they pay payroll taxes excise taxes sales taxes every other levy. >> the lower your income, the higher the percentage of your income you're paying for sales taxes and excise taxes and property taxes and even at the federal level the social security medicare taxes. particularly paradoxical because he says -- he may say that's not income tax.
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here's the point. he denigrates people, 47% are people who are receiving social security and medicare. they paid for it. you can't have it both ways. you can't ignore the fact that they paid in to social security and then treat them as parasites because they're receiving social security from a fund that they paid into. >> eliot: that's exactly right. the notion of dependency is really -- philosophically troubling to me. the notion that people -- we as members of a community who will give assistance because we believe in this core notion that that assistance permits people to make progress and climb up in life and that we then denigrate them as being victims of dependency. it is just so ant thetical to the world view. that's why i think this comment is so revealing about mitt romney. >> exactly. people are just reduced to how they make money. by the way, it also shows he's not familiar with the circumstances. if you've got a couple of kids and you are on food stamps, unemployment, i know very few people who aren't desperate to
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get out of that. people are on unemployment. you look at what happens. as you know, when somebody announces jobs, there is a line going twice around the block. the notion that these people aren't interested in trying to improve themselves. and then they have -- they put off -- one of the things we tried to do is to improve funding for community colleges which i think one of the best ways to deal with inequality, one of the best transmission belts of genuine skills that tend not to be outsourced. when we have tried to put more money into community colleges, people like mitt romney are choking off the funding that goes to the community colleges through states and through federal funding and putting obstacles in people's way. but i have to say you have that experience too. people call my office. i'm unemployed. i'm on food stamps. can you get me a job? >> eliot: the other side of the coin if you want to look at true dependency, the tax expenditures we have given away
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to the companies that are supporting mitt romney whether it's wall street or the oil and gas industry, on and on and yet so if there is one trough from which people are feeding if there is a dependency out there it is in the form of those tax subsidies and of course, mitt romney defends those to the hilt. refusing to name one he's willing to close off. >> exactly right. by the way he also -- ignores the fact that a lot of people got rich because they were lucky enough to be born -- i was struck that clip you just played when i was a boy, i thought it would be good to become rich. did he not know who his father was? did they keep him -- was he in an orphanage for the eight or ten years? he was rich the day he was born. i became rich. >> eliot: congressman, let me say this. there are days when i listen to mitt romney, i think he was in a hermetically sealed container for most of his life. that's the only way he could be so devoid of emotion and core human values as he seems to be every day. is this going to hurt him
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politically? we obviously -- we're talking to folks primarily who agree with us. will this actually determine the outcome of this election? >> i think so. he talks about looking at the 5% to 10%. today let's look at today's "new york times." david brooks, the conservative columnist said to paul krugman he's a republican, his headline, thurston howell romney. he's very critical of romney's absolute lack of any concern for other people. this is paul ryan and ayn rand coming together. and then when you tell people that look, it is now a philosophical explanation of why he and ryan are ready to reduce social security and medicare. when you talk about the 47% that's anybody who's living -- whose income is primarily from social security, romney is now dismissing. yeah, i think that helps explain to people and i don't think social security recipients enjoy being described in that way. i think it is going to hurt them
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as it should. >> eliot: i hope the race is pretty much over. democratic congressman from massachusetts, barney frank. thank you so much for coming on. we'll miss you in the house. maybe you can find a seat and re-up. >> if anybody's proven there's life after elected office, you have. >> eliot: thank you, sir. we'll talk soon. fear of
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>> eliot: how we share the tax burden. it may be more fair than you think. that's later in the show. but first, let's check in with jennifer granholm in "the war room" now on at 10:00. good evening governor. what have you got for us tonight? >> jennifer: well,l, eliot we're going to turn current's coverage of the undercover video of mitt romney's views on nearly half the electorate. we're going to get insights on what's going on inside the romney panic room with democratic strategist who has been there consulting with a few candidates who stepped in. we're going to get insights on the future of the supreme court with legal scholar, author of a
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new book on the robert court. he will be my guest and it will be a great show. it all starts here in "the war room" at 10:00. >> eliot: not a good idea generally to kind of take a shot at 47% of the voting public, is it? >> jennifer: i mean really what was he thinking? he wasn't but that's just who he is. >> eliot: he told the truth about what he thinks of us. >> jennifer: feel like you got a window. you got a window in what he says when he doesn't think cameras are running in front of people like him. >> eliot: put himimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimimim it's go time. what time is it rob? oh, then it's go. go. go. go time. anybody? anybody? what time is it? oh, right. >> eliot: two numbers now define our political discourse. one number made famous by occupy wall street. 99%.
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representing the vast majority of our society those who do not enjoy the tax policies including the capital gains preferences and large write-offs that favor the elite 1%. and now a second number. for mitt romney, the 47%. representing those who pay no federal income taxes. i bet if you asked people which number they felt more passionate about, you could use that one data point alone to predict with over 90% accuracy how they will vote this november in the presidential election. but here are a couple of thoughts about mitt's 47% figure. the canards that people don't carry their fair share is a trope that the republican party loves to roll out. and the 47% figure is their favorite data point to support it. but as i've been saying for some time now the 47% figure, while technically accurate, as it relates to federal income taxes doesn't include what people do to the payroll tax sales tax excise taxes and all sorts of other levies. so here is a partial breakdown
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of how the other burdens fall. courtesy of the tax policy center and the institute on taxation and economic policy. 28.3% pay payroll taxes which cover social security and medicare. 10.3% pay no federal income tax because they are retired or elderly and social security payments are not taxed. i can't imagine that romney objects to this category. so that leaves just 6.9% who are nonelderly and don't pay income tax. 6.9% is a far cry from 47%. we're not in fact, a nation of moochers as romney seems to suggest. and here's a more important point. how does the burden of our tax system fall? do the less wealthy really get off easy? it turns out that tax payments are almost directly proportional to the income we earn. when everything is factored in, take a look at this chart. those who fall in the middle 20% of income earned pay 10.3% of all taxes. but earn only a touch more than
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that. 11.4% of the income. those in the bottom 20% of the income earned pay 2.1% of all taxes but they earn only 3.4% of the income. and those in the top 1% occupy wall street's famous 1% pay 21.6% of all taxes but they earn 21% of all income. this system may not be as crazy as any of the loudest voices want us to think it is. we're not a nation of panhandlers or of cheats. that being said, it is time for romney to stop pointing the finger down at those who get the benefits of some of government programs he seems so quick to deride. a few of the wounded veterans who are getting healthcare at the v.a. hospitals may not take so kindly to his flippant view of government help. and by the way governor romney, your own 13.9% income tax still puts you well below what your colleagues in the top 1% pay so stop complaining!
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that's my view. now to my point. (vo) jennifer granholm ... >>for every discouraged voter, there are ten angry ones taking action. trickle down does not work. in romney's world, cars get the elevator and the workers get the shaft. that is a whole bunch of bunk. the powerful may steal an election, but they can't steal democracy.
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>> eliot: 40% say it encourages violence. 51% say it doesn't. only 25% of americans thought islam encouraged violence according to pew research poll. so in the intervening up from 25% to 40%.
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why the uptick? continued terrorist attacks by islamic fundamentalists contributes. nathan lean, author of the islamophobia industry also believes there is a concerted effort on the part of the conservative right to create a fear of islam. he joins me now. so nathan, let's get down to the hardest issue for you. clearly, the historical record what the public sees in the newspapers contributes to the uptick from 25% to 40%. i presume you can't totally discount that. >> no. that's undeniable. of course, there are always terrorist attacks. there are always episodes of violence that certainly contribute to the way that many americans view and understannis lamb and muslims. that's an unfortunate reality but we have to deal with it. >> eliot: but having said that, you believe that beyond that these attacks that you certainly don't deny when they occur are pervasive in terms of news coverage. you think beyond that, there is a concerted effort by certain groups to particular
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islamic view when it comes to the violence that they claim in the religion. >> absolutely. eliot, the strange thing is in the immediate aftermath of september 11th we saw that nearly half of our population expressed favorable opinions of muslims and of islam. over the course of the past decade though that number has declined. now we're at a point where you mentioned, some 40% of americans express an unfavorable opinion of islam. that's exactly the opposite of how we would expect it to be. and there is a reason for it. there is a growing but shadowy anti-muslim network in the united states and in europe that actively promoting the fear of muslims in our society. they're good at it. they make a lot of money at it. it contributes to the way that, unfortunately, many americans view muslims. >> eliot: do you feel that this concerted effort -- i'll take as a premise of this question even though you would have to prove the point to me, if this group exists, is it
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fundamentally different than other groups that existed opinions about catholics or jews or any other religious group that was new to the united states or that from which people felt a threat in some form? >> certainly, you know, we've sign this type of fearmongerring before. we saw it with catholics. we saw it with jews. we saw it with communists even. the reason that people are making the claim that michele bachmann's anti-muslim witch-hunt in congress harks back to the day of joseph mccarthy because we've experienced the bouts of hate before. the real difference though today is that there is an active network of individuals that use tools like the internet to spread their venom in society and what they have effectively done is metastasized the social cancer growing among us. >> eliot: now part of the problem as you would see it is you have the voice of lee she wrote the cover story of "newsweek" this week from within the islamic community saying
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those who spread what you view as fearmongerring are what? there is a core kernel of violence in the religion. how do you respond to a voice like hers that is so powerful when people watch her? >> the "newsweek" cover was undoubtedly you know, terrible. and tina brown, folks at "newsweek" should be ashamed of themselves. asking ellie to write a cover story called muslim rage would be like asking you know mel gibson to write a story about jews in the united states. ann ellie is an inside figure. she's someone that sort of sells this provocative story from herchildhood. but she has a list of making anti-muslim statements that generally shouldn't be accepted within our society. you know she says that it's true but the fact is they're just so inflammatory and insightful. they're not doing anything to promote the pluralism that this nation deserves. >> eliot: now, of course, the
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backdrop against which you're trying to make this argument and i give you full credit for trying to make it and think that you make but nonetheless, you have to acknowledge this past week what happened across north africa and the middle east. supposedly in response to what is a heinous online video that doesn't even deserve to be mentioned but the response to that. just as the response to the cartoon, the danish cartoon several years ago seemed so grotesquely disproportionate in the muslim community. how do you explain that outbreak of violence and hatred directed at western and u.s. interests in particular other than by what you say people are unfairly fomenting? >> certainly eliot any time violence comes in reaction to anti-muslim speech or any speech, it's reprehensible and it should be condemned. you know the violence we've seen this past week is no exception. but let's be clear about what's happening in the middle east. there are internal politics. there are internal dynamics and pulses that are contributing to sort of a lot of the instability
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and the tension we're seeing. you know people just don't show up to rally outside of consulates and embassies with rocket launchers under their hands. the attack on the libyan -- the u.s. conflict in libya was a planned, terrorist attack and the fact is you know, when we look at the numbers of people that are protesting this anti-muslim film in comparison to the numbers of people that could be protesting this anti-muslim film and the populations, they're very small. i mean we see 2500 or perhaps 3,000 egyptians coming out into the streets to protest this film. that's happening in a country that has a population of 82 million. so despite the fact that "newsweek" and other organizations like that would like to sort of spin this in a sensational way and convince us that there is this rage that's growing and fomenting in the muslim world and in the middle east that's absolutely not the case. the folks that are making -- >> eliot: i hate to do
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